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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

(part 2)

9. Hello, Hello, Alone
Produced and arranged by Nathalie Wise/Words-BIKKE/Music-Hiroshi Takano, Tetsuya Saito

H I had never really heard any of BIKKE's raps or anything before, so the first time I heard this song I wasn't sure about how to approach it.

Y It was a shock to learn that we'd be doing this type of rapping too.

H but once i'd listened to BIKKE's other stuff, I figured out how the best way to sing it, the strong points of the song...

Y...And when to look up at the stars!

H All of BIKKE's songs seem to include some reference to star gazing. I suppose that means he likes them.

I thought that there were a lot of new elements in BIKKE's song that weren't really around in the other Halcali songs i'd heard before. I mean it felt a lot more personal and emotional. I thought that you might have been embarrased to sing it.

Y Well no, if we thought like that, we'd never be able to play live or anything. I do like the song.

I also really thought that BIKKE's song and the typical 'Halcali' image were miles apart. Don't you agree?

H No, not really. Out of all the producers who worked with us on the album, BIIKE treated us the best and had a good idea of what we were all about. We even played Game of Life with him on the New Year.

10. Styley, Styley
Produced by O.T.F/Words-RYO-Z (O.T.F)/Music-DJ FUMIYA (O.T.F)

Are you on a diet?

H No.

Y Me neither. But I want to lose weight.

H I like myself a little better when I doing things like going to the gym and working out. I don't lose any weight but because i've sweated so much it feels like I have!

Y I know! And don't you feel thinner in the morning before you've eaten breakfast?! I really like looking at my stomach then, I look so thin.

H I always pat it, like this "Ah, you aren't sticking out so much now are you?"!

Y I like thinking about going on a diet but I can never go through with it. I'm always hungry, so I always eat. But I really, really want to lose weight.

H I read "Losing weight is something that you have to apply yourself to everyday"

Y Where did you read that?

H In 'Seventeen'! (laughs)

11. Electric Sensei
(2nd single/released 2003/4/9)Produced by O.T.F/Words-RYO-Z (O.T.F)/Music-DJ FUMIYA (O.T.F)

This is a really 'hard' rap. It seems like a really basic thing to ask but, how did you get the knack of learning the lyrics?

Y We didn't. (laughs)

Yes but, you have to remember them when playing live though right?

H When we were recording could you remember all the words?

Y No I could'nt. I felt like I was always one step behind with the lyrics, they just wouldn't go in.

H But it got easier the more you sang it though, didn't it?

12. The Schoolyard at Midnight
Words and Music- Miho Moribayashi (hi-posi)

H Although we practiced the songs, we weren't really 'singing' at all, all we were doing was rapping. So when this came along, it felt like something new. It was a lot of fun to sing.

Y But I thought it was really difficult.

H Moribayashi's advice was "just feel like your strolling along...

Y ...and humming". That was the kind of image she wanted us to have in mind when we did it. "Sing like you're out for a stroll". But I just thought "What?! How am I supposed to do that?!"

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
They also talked about the Strawberry Chips single, which i'll get up as soon as i'm not stressed about moving back to Japan or job interviews. That Game of Life story was a bit odd, don't you think?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

y and h on halcali

Image hosted by Photobucket.comFrom QuickJapan#54

全曲セルフ解説 Halcali on the songs of Halcali (part 1)

1st. Album Halcali Bacon (Released 2003/9/3*1)

1. intro. HALCALI BACON
Produced by O.T.F/music and sound- DJ FUMIYA (O.T.F)
*instrumental

2. Tandem
(1st single. Released 2003/1/8) Produced by O.T.F/Lyrics-RYO-Z (O.T.F)/Music-DJ FUJIYAMA (O.T.F)

This is the first single released in January 2003. How did you feel when you received your first song?

Yukari Before our debut we were practicing a lot of different songs and we had no idea that this would become our debut. Suddenly it was decided that Tandem would be it. It seems to be the case that your image is decided by your debut though.

Haruka After the debut song was decided and things started moving, we really had to pull our socks up.

Y We aren't the type to give up! We had our vocals at full stretch.

3. Giri Giri Surf Rider
(3rd single. Released 2003/7/9) Produced by O.T.F/Lyrics-Ryo-Z (O.T.F)/Music-DJ FUJIYAMA (O.T.F)

Y There were so many phrases I couldn't make sense of in this song that I had to keep asking Ryo-Z about it.

H But we learnt a lot from it too.

There's that really cute phrase in it, ビーチョー("beechyo"), but what does it mean?

Y I thought "ビーチョー" was just "Beat Yo!" in English, right? Isn't it? Well, maybe not...

The line is 二人乗りのビーチョー(riding together on the 'beechyo'), so I thought it was a vehicle of some kind.

Y Er...no I don't think so. (laughs)

H It's great that he can come up with phrases like that though.

Y Yeah, he's constantly pulling them out of thin air.

4. Ah, Halcali Sensation!
Lyrics and music- M.Koshima, S.Matsumoto, Y.Matsumoto/Produced by SDP (Schadaraparr)

Y This was the song that made me realise that not only would singing be fun in itself, but if we could rhyme when we rapped, it would be even better.

H After I started listening to Schadaraparr's stuff properly, I really noticed the similarities in the music between their songs and Sensation.

Y They're putting an album out soon aren't they?*2 It's an interesting listen, a lot of the lyrics from that album are similar to our song too.

5. A Tiring Summer
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka (Fantastic Plastic Machine)/Lyrics- Tomoyuki Tanaka/Music and arrangement- Tomoyuki Tanaka, Masayuki Kumahara

This is another interesting one. It's rare that you hear a song which allows you to be able to picture this kind of love story so vividly. Can you relate to the story? The subject matter feels fairly serious.

Y No, not really.

H Well but, the part about guys staring at girls is talking about something quite common.

Y Like those creepy old guys who stare at you on the train.

H Yeah, especially if i'm wearing a mini skirt or something, then I can really feel people looking at me.

Y There's people who do nothing but stare at you the whole time, it makes me sick.

H It also makes you wonder if it's wrong to wear a skirt. Some of them even talk to you.

Y Like, "you must be cold!"

H Or, "you're really showing of your legs" or something.

Y I just want to tell them to piss off.

6. Halcalism (we are the) Candy Hearts
Produced by Kohei Japan/ Lyrics and music by Kohei Japan

H It's Kohei! I love this guy, i've been his fan for ages.

Speaking of old guys, this song is likely to bring back some old memories for them. I'm talking about the line キウイ パパヤ マンゴー ("kiwi, papaya, mango") You don't know about it, right?

H No, not at all.

'君たちキウイ パパヤ マンゴーだね' ('You guys are like Kiwis, Papayas and Mangos' (?!)) was the title of a huge hit song for Meiko Nakahara.*3

H so when we say that line, they'll be reminded of that song?

Naturally.

Y So it's just us who didn't know. We don't have a clue do we?!

7. Conversation of a mystery
Produced by O.T.F/Music and sound-DJ FUJIYAMA (O.T.F)
*instrumental

8. Peek-a-boo
Produced by O.T.F/Lyrics-RYO-Z (O.T.F)/Music-DJ FUJIYAMA (O.T.F)

Y When we were first starting out we were using this as the first song in the set, so when I hear it it always makes me feel nervous.

But now you're using it as the first song in your encore right?

H Yeah that's right. It works pretty well like that, with us chanting our names at the start and everything.*4

Y It's a cute song. I really love it.

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*1 For the release dates i'm using the same method as the Japanese use, and of course how they were published here. So this is 3rd September 2003.
*2 She's talking about The 9th Sense. If you're interested, you really should take a look at what they're making with Denki Groove now. Especially if last April's single Twilight is anything to go by.
*3 This song was on the album The Fruit of Lotos, released back in 1984, before y and h were even born.
*4 "My name is Haruka in the house!" "My name is Yukari in the house!"

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Quick Japan

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us"21世界のポップスターハルカリ (Halcali- popstars for the 21st Century)"

Way back in May last year volume 54 of QuickJapan was more or less entirely dedicated to Halcali. As well as a comprehensive interview there's a smattering of other fun stuff like H and Y's commentary on Halcali Bacon and their PV's, information on Halcali's collaborators and instructions on how to dance to Strawberry Chips. I'm back in Japan in three weeks and I don't have much to do before then except tap my feet so I decided to put up some of the more interesting stuff for you to look at. I'll have to leave the dance steps to your imagination though, as sadly I don't have a scanner. Watch the video though, you can work it out.

Monday, May 02, 2005

kiiiiiii (a digression)

Forgive the digression for a second or two but I haven't been this excited about music since I was 16, writing a fanzine, listening to bis and generally living through a period where it seemed like I was having my head blown off by some new thrilling band every week. Basically, here's the deal- if you're reading this blog then i'm guessing that we've got enough in common that you're going to flip for these guys. Here's the first one.

1. kiiiiiii
Endearing, frantic 2-piece sparkling girl combo from Tokyo. 2 piece means just drums and vocals, and you can imagine the wild clattering awesome sounds they create. The songs evoke the wild, wide eyed pop scene of late-90's UK (which spawned bis, urusei yatsura, the delgados and my old fanzine amongst other things) while, thank God, bringing actual performance back to rock and roll, something crucial that's forgotten with frustrating frequency on the drudgery of the indie circuit. I was raised on a diet of US indie, which is fine I guess, except I had to struggle with years of watching Stephen Malkmus and his ilk blithely mumble about for 2 hours doing nothing in particular. Here is the leaping kicking screaming cartwheeling real alternative- 2 Japanese girls reenacting the endless enthusiasm of 2 American early teen pop kids- littering the stage with glittery broken toys, tinsel and a packed in, too-cute retro kitsch. Arguably, its live where you've got to listen to kiiiiiii (7 'i's, so i'm told), only experiencing them through record seems to limit their potency. Still though, you'll have a job getting The World According to Carp and Sheep out of your head, regardless of where, or how you listen to it. So keep on dancing, and clap your ha-ha-ha-ha-hands!

Listen to them at this page on their main site. Also be sure to look at this article over at Cha Cha Charming, written by Marxy of Neomarxisme where you can also see some tasty live clips.

OK, enough of that for the minute. Back to Halcali.